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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Activities & Organizations

International Education Week celebrates campus diversity

International Education Week

Cultural Explosion was a part of the celebrations around International Education Week. | Don William/The Cougar

International Education Week is a weeklong celebration in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and the College of Education that emphasizes opportunities like learning abroad and cultural appreciation among students, faculty and staff. 

This year’s IEW key events included an opening ceremony, Learning Abroad 101, workshops, information tables, virtual discussions, a student mixer and ended off with the 50th Anniversary of the International Friendship Program.

“I want them (students) to be open to the possibility of international travel and education,” said international student committee co-chair Melissa Aylward. “I want them to take away something that benefits their understanding of the world on a global scale and hopefully use that in their future careers.” 

At these presentations and workshops, the UH community was able to get an in-depth grasp of how to get involved with international education and what the importance is for them with broadening their experiences. 

The Learning Abroad 101 advisors, Jade Green and Allison Carruthers, presented a walk-through on how to get started with the study abroad program in addition to the process and necessary information for signing up. 

The advisers recognize that learning abroad is a different experience for each student, so they share four program types to suit each individual’s needs and financial aid for the process:  Faculty-led programs, exchange programs, affiliated programs and student service organizations abroad.

“We want all students to participate or get some kind of global engagement,” Green said. “So that’s why we offer these different programs so that students don’t feel like their major doesn’t fit in with the learning abroad program. We work with different departments on campus to provide different resources to you all.”  

This week not only highlighted current UH students and their global experiences but also welcomed international students to the campus. 

Tables were set up throughout the week promoting what students, faculty and staff appreciate about UH to encourage international students to be a part of the diverse community with the hashtag #GlobalCoogsLoveUH. 

Cultural Explosion held on Tuesday of that week also showcased various cultures through performances for the UH community to celebrate. 

The final event of the week was the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the International Friendship Program. Due to the pandemic, the anniversary was pushed back to this year making the program 51 years old. 

“IFP is an organization through our office where we match international students and scholars to Houston families and locals and couples,” said program coordinator Melissa Aylward. “It’s just a great opportunity to share cultures and get to know one another, help international students and scholars adjust to moving to the United States.”

Members of the program detailed their experiences with hosting an international student and others shared their gratitude for traveling from their home countries to study abroad and making life-long connections with these Houston families. 

“It allows me to learn through different perspectives,”  said marketing junior Kritka Manik. “And it gives me an opportunity to network in another environment.” 

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